Author Archives: Savannah Volkoff

Cardno ChemRisk interviews Fri. Nov 21

Category : Uncategorized

Cardno ChemRisk will be on-campus on November 21 for an Information Session and to conduct interviews.

If you are interested in an interview during their visit, please email your resume to Dr. Marisa Kreider at by NOVEMBER 19. She will then be in contact with you to schedule an interview. All interviews will take place at the Career and Professional Development Center, LSRC Room A135.

Information Session (Bagels will be served)

November 21 @ 9:00am in EH 1111

*RSVP in Career Link



November 21 @ throughout the day

Cardno ChemRisk, a scientific consulting company, provides state-of-the-art toxicology, industrial hygiene, epidemiology, and risk assessment services to organizations that confront public health, occupational health, and environmental challenges. Professionals on the Cardno ChemRisk team have a long-standing reputation for thorough scientific analysis and for sharing results in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Many of the over 250 papers published by Cardno® ChemRisk scientists are frequently referenced in both litigation and regulatory decision-making. Our mission is to provide creative and scientifically rigorous approaches to answering questions about the human health hazards posed by chemical, biological, pharmaceutical, and radiological agents.

Cardno ChemRisk has nearly 90 scientists with backgrounds in toxicology, industrial hygiene, epidemiology, ecotoxicology, environmental sciences, medicine, statistical analysis, and risk assessment. We have ten locations serving clients in multiple countries, across dozens of markets and industries.​


Rhonda Sarmento, M.A.

Sr. Career Specialist | Stanback Internship Program Manager
Career & Professional Development Center, LSRC A135D

Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, 919.613.4442

@DukeStanback @DukeEnvCareers

Next Week’s Seminar: Room Change

Category : Uncategorized

We’ve had a room change for next week’s (11/7) seminar with Daniel Brown. Please find us in the new Environment Hall, Room 2102. Same time!


Questions: or

Congratulations to Xiaoxing Cui!

Category : Uncategorized

Xiaoxing Cui (second from left) pictured with fellow award recipients.

Congratulations to ITEHP graduate student Xiaoxing Cui  for receiving 1st place in the student poster competition at the International Society of Exposure Science 2014 conference in Cincinnati, Ohio! Xiaoxing’s poster was titled, “Comparison of Free and Total Malondialdehyde as a Biomarker of Oxidative Stress.” There were over 40 students participating in the poster presentation competition and Xiaoxing’s poster stood out among the rest. Congratulations, Xiaoxing!

Have you registered for the ToxSymposium?

Category : Uncategorized

Don’t forget to register for this semester’s symposium!

Low Dose Effects / Non-Monotonic Responses of Endocrine Disruptors

When: Friday, October 24, 2014 at 8:30AM-4:00PM

Where: Searle Center Lecture Hall, Seeley G Mudd Building, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

No cost to attend, but RSVP is required.

Register here! 

Daniel Brown wins McClellan-Green Award

Category : Uncategorized

Congratulations to Daniel Brown, an ITEHP graduate student in Richard Di Giulio’s laboratory, who recently received the 2014 Pat McClellan-Green student travel award!

Dan will be using the grant to attend the 2014 SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) Meeting in Vancouver. The title of his oral presentation is “Sublethal Embryonic Exposure to Complex PAH Mixtures Alters Later Life Behavior and Swimming Performance in Fundulus heteroclitus.” 

Dan on a Pumpkin
Daniel visits a pumpkin patch with other ITEHP students. Here he claims the fairest pumpkin of them all. October 2013. Credit: Daniel Brown


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are important environmental contaminants in many aquatic systems. Acute embryonic exposure to PAHs is known to cause cardiac teratogenesis in fish, and research has shown that early life exposure to some types of hydrocarbons causes heart alterations and decreased swimming capacity in fish. A population of Atlantic killifish inhabits a Superfund site (Atlantic Wood Industries, Norfolk, VA—AW) that is heavily contaminated with a mixture of PAHs from former creosote operations. This population has developed resistance to the acute toxicity and teratogenic effects caused by the chemical mixture in sediment from the site. Little is known about the impacts of more subtle, early life exposures, which are arguably broadly applicable to environmental contamination scenarios. This study examined the later life behavioral and performance consequences of early life exposure to low dose concentrations of PAH mixtures in both the adapted and unadapted Atlantic killifish. Atlantic killifish from King’s Creek (KC—non-polluted reference site) and the AW site were manually spawned and F1 embryos were collected and screened for normal development at 24 hours post fertilization (hpf). Embryos from both populations were then exposed to non- teratogenic dilutions (0.1% and 1.0%) of Elizabeth River sediment extract (ERSE), from the AW site, for 144 hpf. Forty embryos per treatment from both fish populations that did not display cardiac abnormalities were split into groups of 20 treated killifish for behavioral assays and 20 treated for performance testing. Killifish used for behavioral screens and swimming performance were reared in flow-through systems for 3 months and 5 months respectively. Larval killifish were evaluated for light/dark swimming activity at 4 and 8 days post hatch (ph) as well as startle habituation, and diving/exploring behavior at 3 months ph. Larval KC killifish showed decreased swimming activity as ERSE exposure concentration increased whereas, AW killifish showed increasing swimming activity with increasing embryonic exposure. Juvenile KC killifish exposed to 1.0% ERSE were hyperactive in startle response testing relative to control killifish and demonstrated reduced exploring behavior in the dive test. KC killifish raised to 5 months ph had decreasing maximum velocity at failure and reduced critical swimming capacity (Ucrit) following embryonic exposure to ERSE. Conversely, AW killifish improved as embryonic ERSE exposure increased. AW killifish consumed less oxygen at rest than KC killifish. Supported by NIEHS Superfund Program, P42-ES10356.


Christina Bear Reflects on visit to Duke!

Category : Uncategorized

Christina Bear, a high school student from Golden, visited Duke this summer and toured ITEHP labs to learn about environmental health and toxicology. Christina shares some photos and reflects on her experience.


Christina Bear

Looking for the right balance of relaxation and summer learning as a rising high school junior can be quite the dilemma.

I wanted to pursue enrichment in Environmental Health, a field that grabbed my interest in middle school. My brother, Eric, and I initiated a Radon Awareness Project (RAP) in Colorado from 2010-2012. The geographic area where we live in Jefferson County, Colorado has unusually high levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer with long term exposure. We were motivated to initiate the RAP because so many homeowners we spoke to either did not know about radon or how to test for radon in their homes. The RAP project gave us opportunities for public speaking and to come up with innovative ways of outreach, such as recording a rap song. The highlight of the RAP project was going to the White House for the President’s Environmental Youth Award in April 2012 and speaking at a breakout session on youth getting involved in environmental projects and education within their community.

The skills to do the RAP spanned across science, art, writing, theater, and community service as well as talents outside of school.  There was also a social justice aspect related to the Navajo Indians exposure to radon while mining for uranium. Understanding about the interaction of policy and environmental issues was invaluable. The one thing missing was experience in lab research on environmental health issues. And that is when I began my quest for an informative and instructive summer activity for 2014 to supplement my RAP advocacy project. I am happy to say my quest was successful! Based on their national reputation for Environmental Health, I chose to attend Duke University’s Superfund Research Center and ITEHP (Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program) in the Nicholas School of the Environment for a 10-day lab exploration.

Nancy Lauer in Dr. Avner Vengosh's lab teaching me about the decay or uranium. PC: Ranee Shenoi
Nancy Lauer in Dr. Avner Vengosh’s lab teaching me about the decay or uranium.
PC: Ranee Shenoi

I shadowed in the lab of Dr. Avner Vengosh with Nancy Lauer, a graduate student who taught me about the potential toxicity of coal ash in North Carolina’s Dan River. Dr. Vengosh has published on radon in water and Nancy taught me gamma radiation is smaller and more radioactive than the alpha and beta particles of radon. I observed with Nancy and fellow grad student, AJ Kangosh, how to test water samples to find radiation after water has been treated. Dr. Bill Pan shared his work on global environmental health and Ms. Gretchen Kroeger discussed research translation. During the interaction with my instructors, I appreciated that research can have meaningful impacts beyond the scientific community and there is a need for effective communication to audiences with varying scientific backgrounds. I realized my work with the RAP was unique to make radon relevant to people in my community.

Reaching the mid-point of my lab exposure at Duke, I was comfortable standing in a real-live laboratory where undergraduate and graduate students were investigating environmental toxicity. I learned lab techniques of pipetting, centrifuging, embryo separation, fish development, and sediment sampling. Lunchtime was my favorite because one of the grad students would informally present on a topic to educate the rest. And then it was my turn. On June 6, 2014, I presented my work with the Radon Awareness Project. Facing allergies and butterflies in my stomach, the talk went smoothly. There was a good discussion of environmental health challenges in our respective states.

Dr. Richard DiGiulio’s lab, known for its Superfund site research, is filled with projects studying the toxicity of fish. Meeting Rich (Dr. DiGiulio) was like being with an old friend as he is funny and comfortable to be around. Rich fosters an atmosphere of an ‘environmental family’ with kind and patient grad students. Their relaxed style made it conducive to learn lab skills and integrate my knowledge about environmental health.

Christina and Savannah collect sediment from the Elizabeth River in Virginia. PC: Ranee Shenoi
Christina and Savannah collect sediment from the Elizabeth River in Virginia.
PC: Ranee Shenoi

The highlight of my lab program was a trip to the Elizabeth River in Virginia led by Savannah Volkoff of Dr. DiGiulio’s lab. We set off in the wee hours of the morning and made four stops for sediment collection in the Elizabeth River. We also collected mummichog fish to study the effects of toxic wastes of wood preservative, pollution, and other wastes that are affecting marine life. Savannah and I sloshed through the muck with waders and as messy as it was, sediment collection was my idea of working “in the field.”

Next, I toured the lab of Dr. Edward Levin and learned about neurobehavioral aspects of environmental exposure. Dr. Levin has a super neat lab in downtown Durham in a remodeled car repair shop. Postdoc and graduate student, Dr. Jordan Bailey and Anthony Oliveri, toured me around the labs where Dr. Levin studies the effects of addictive substances, such as tobacco, using rat models.


Christina attends a Durham Bulls game in downtown Durham, NC. PC: Ranee Shenoi
Christina attends a Durham Bulls game in downtown Durham, NC.
PC: Ranee Shenoi

Besides working in a lab, my visit to Duke was fun! There were several entertaining activities including a tour of historic downtown Durham, attending a Durham Bulls game, eating barbecue with a distinctive North Carolina taste, and sampling international cuisines of Germany, France and Spain. I can’t forget the ice cream at The Parlour and delectable cupcakes at The Cupcake Bar. The tour of Duke’s campus was gorgeous with the impressive Duke Chapel, basketball stadium, and the Duke Gardens.

My time with the Superfund Research Center at Duke helped me to connect the dots of how the findings from basic lab research on environmental health ties into community outreach and public education. It brought relevance to my Radon Awareness Project and an invaluable perspective for environmental studies in my future.

I am grateful to Savannah Volkoff, Eve Marion, and Dr. Richard Di Giulio for organizing a truly memorable lab program at Duke University.

-Christina Bear

Golden, Colorado

Seminar announcement



Presenting the Radon Awareness Project PC: Ranee Shenoi
Presenting the Radon Awareness Project
PC: Ranee Shenoi
Christina presenting the Radon Awareness Project PC: Ranee Shenoi
Christina presenting the Radon Awareness Project
PC: Ranee Shenoi
Dr. Edward Levin and Christina Bear PC: Ranee Shenoi
Dr. Edward Levin and Christina Bear
PC: Ranee Shenoi
Dr. Richard Di Giulio and Christina Bear PC: Ranee Shenoi
Dr. Richard Di Giulio and Christina Bear
PC: Ranee Shenoi























Savannah Volkoff, Christina Bear, and Eve Marion at Christina's ITEHP Seminar.  PC: Ranee Shenoi
Savannah Volkoff, Christina Bear, and Eve Marion at Christina’s ITEHP Seminar.
PC: Ranee Shenoi









Savannah and Christina bottle Elizabeth River sediment extract for storage.  PC: Ranee Shenoi
Savannah and Christina bottle Elizabeth River sediment extract for storage.
PC: Ranee Shenoi











Christina and Savannah collect sediment from the Elizabeth River in Virginia. PC: Ranee Shenoi
Christina and Savannah collect sediment from the Elizabeth River in Virginia.
PC: Ranee Shenoi






PC: Ranee Shenoi
PC: Ranee Shenoi


Duke Chapel PC: Ranee Shenoi
Duke Chapel
PC: Ranee Shenoi










Laura Macaulay receives Otto Hutzinger Student Award

Category : Uncategorized


Laura Macaulay, an ITEHP graduate student in Heather Stapleton’s laboratory, received the prestigious Otto Hutzinger Student Award at this year’s International Dioxin Conference in Madrid.

Laura presented a talk on her Superfund research which focuses on early life exposure to 6-OH-BDE-47 and developmental effects mediated by THR.

Please join us in congratulating Laura!

ToxSeminar with Audrey Bone 9/5

Category : Uncategorized



 Audrey Bone, an ITEHP graduate student, will be presenting at ToxSeminar this Friday from Noon-1:30PM in Field Auditorium in the new Environmental Hall! Her talk is titled, “Incorporating Environmental Realism into Toxicity of Nanoparticles to Early Life Stage Fish.”

ToxSeminar this Friday with Dr. Daniel Baden

Category : toxseminar


Join us this Friday for ToxSeminar with Dr. Daniel Baden from UNC-Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science. Dr. Baden’s talk is titled, From Beach to Beside: Getting our Feet Wet in Translational Marine Science. 

ToxSeminar is held every Friday from 12-1:30PM. New location: Duke’s Environment Hall, Field Auditorium

EPA’s 2nd ToxCast Data Summit

Category : News

US EPA will be hosting it’s second Data Summit for Beginning the dialogue about using new data to transform chemical safety evaluations. 


September 29-30, 2014

EPA Research Triangle Park  Campus

109 T.W. Alexander Dr.

Durham, NC 27711

For more information, visit this website.

April 2020